simple bolognese sauce

happy fall ya’ll!

okay, fine.

technically it’s not officially fall yet, but as soon as the september calendar rolls out, my kelly brain thinks fall has arrived in all it’s pumpkin-picking, soup-spooning, boots + sweaters glory.

so to celebrate the official kelly launch of fall, i am sharing with you one of my favorite cool weather comfort dishes.

{classic bolognese} a few steps to the perfect comfort dish! bonus- your kitchen will smell amazing!

a stick-to-your-ribs classic bolognese!

what is it? how’d it get it’s fun name?

very simple! bolognese is a meat-based sauce originating from bologna, italy!

never had it? never heard of it?

well, let me enlighten you with the simple idea of it – some dishes are edible hugs + bolognese is one of ‘em!

{classic bolognese} a few steps to the perfect comfort dish!_

although this recipe takes a few hours, it only takes a handful of steps at the beginning to help build big, gorgeous, complex flavor.

taking the time to layer these flavors will result in a homemade sauce that is sure to blow your pasta night out of the park!

our layering starts with browning a glorious meat trifecta of beef, pork + pancetta. we then start the classic sweat down of carrots, celery + onion in a pad of butter + add minced garlic {6 cloves of it!} to amp up the richness. then, as the san marzano crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme + red wine start to join in on the action, your kitchen will smell heavenly!

let’s just say, if you weren’t planning on hosting a pasta party then make sure your windows are closed! because any whiff of this amazing sauce stewing away will bring all the boys to the yard.

as the last of the ingredients are mixed up in your pot, you’ll turn the heat down low + let some serious simmer magic happen for two hours of hands-off ‘cooking’ time.


in those two hours, take a load off.

read the internet, do some yoga, drool over the stove + taste test every 4 minutes.

or, even better, julia child famously said to never cook with a wine if it’s not suitable for drinking – pour yourself a glass of red + do all of the above until it’s bolognese-serving time!

{classic bolognese} the perfect comfort dish!_

when the sauce has transformed into a thick, smooth sauce – the pasta ball is in your court!

boil up some pappardelle – al dente, of course. or hey! get a little crazy + spirialize some parsnips for a veggie alternative to pasta thats perfect for a lower-carb option!

wanna know another AMAZING pasta/life choice you could make? whip and nea nea up some lasagna! i know. i know. that option seems a bit time-aggressive BUT it’s really just a few minutes of layering love! plus. hopefully that bottle of red you choose was the 750mL kind, so really you’ve got all sorts of time! 😉

no matter how you serve this sauce up – you’ll be so glad you did!

the thing i love most about it, is that every comforting bite tastes like home to me. but even if bolognese wasn’t part of your growing up journey, i am sure something home cooked with classic ingredients + a few hours of love, sure was!

so i think you’ll find an edible hug in your bowl too!


simple bolognese sauce
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ¼ pounds ground beef
  • 1 ¼ pounds ground pork
  • 4oz pancetta, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled + finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine {such as an italian chianti}
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 28oz canned crushed tomatoes {san marzano is the best brand!}
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen string
  • 1 parmigiano-reggiano cheese rind
  • kosher salt + pepper, to taste
for serving:
  • pasta, such as al dente fettuccine, tagliatelle or pappardelle
  • grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • minced fresh parsley
  1. heat a large heavy-bottomed pot/dutch oven, over medium-high heat. add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  2. add the ground beef + pork, and season with salt + pepper. cook, stirring occasionally, until browned {about 12 minutes}.
  3. transfer the meat mixture to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. add the pancetta to the pot + cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp {about 7 minutes}
  5. transfer the pancetta to a separate paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  6. reduce the heat to medium + add the butter. add the onion, carrots + celery, cook until soft + translucent {about 8 minutes}
  7. then, add the garlic +cook, stirring, until fragrant {about 1 minute}
  8. stir in the tomato paste + cook for 2 minutes then add the wine + simmer until almost evaporated {about 5 minutes}
  9. add the heavy cream, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme bundle + cheese rind. stir until combined, then add in the meats.
  10. bring the mix to a simmer then partially cover + reduce to a low heat. cook until the sauce thickens {about 2 hours}
  11. before serving, discard bay leaves, thyme bundle + cheese rind from the bolognese. season to taste with additional salt + pepper.
  12. serve with pasta, minced parsley + grated parmigiano-reggiano. enjoy!


can’t get your hands on pancetta? bacon can be substituted!


red wine for serving: choose a bright, fruity italian red like sangiovese.

tiny leftovers

this recipe should yield 9 cups of sauce. my best suggestion for keeping anything leftover is to freeze it -in dinner-portions!- in ziploc baggies. then, when needed, just defrost in the fridge or reheat in a pot on the stove for a quick meal!